How to Build Sales Intelligence for Social CRM

Today, especially with Social CRM, sales intelligence means getting vast stores of information into the hands of employees. However, advances in computing power generate more data than your sales team could ever use.

The development of dashboards has been a welcome addition for managers who were drowning in data they couldn’t utilize. The abundance of this data has come to be known as big data, a term that refers to data that is so numerous that the usual databases are inadequate.

When you add social media data to the typical CRM system, the integration is problematic.

The mix of real-time external data and internal data adds a layer of complexity. Internal data is data that is produced inside the company — for instance, data regarding sales and expenses. External data is the data that’s produced outside the company and pulled from such places as social media, news, and competitors.

At this point, it’s helpful to look at the kind of data you expect to have in a social CRM system designated by source — either external or internal — so that you can understand the complexity. This list is by no means an exhaustive one.

Here are some categories and examples of data sourced internally:

  • Customer history: Customer purchasing behavior and support tickets

  • Financial information: Equipment costs and salaries

  • Licenses and copyrighted material: Patents, photos, and collateral

  • Specific employee sales data: Data generated by the salesperson to support her own efforts — e-mails, contacts, appointment calendar info, and deal documents

Here are some categories and examples of data sourced externally:

  • Industry news and breaking stories: This includes any real-time information that impacts your industry generally or breaking news that directly impacts your company.

  • Competitors and partners: Data that changes the way you’ll conduct business. Remember that your competitors are also educating your customers. They’ll use all the same types of content and distribution channels to reach them. Make sure you review this data so that you know what may be in your customers’ minds.

  • Government documents: Regulations about how to conduct business and handle employees.

  • Technical information: Data to support mobile systems.

  • Social media platforms: Data collected from customers’ comments and reviews, bookmarking sites, photo sites, forums and community groups, and blogs.

External data can come from current customers, industry influencers, self-identified loyalists, active social media commenters, and the news media. Obviously, tying this all together requires finely tuned systems, which is why the enterprise is grappling with it.

The Satmetrix Worldwide Social Media for Business Study in 2012 found that in the U.S., 31 percent of the companies surveyed didn’t track or follow up with social media. It’s one thing to collect the data and quite another to use it.

One of the major problems businesses face is using the data they collect. Both managers and salespeople alike have more data than they can use. What companies need to do is to take the raw data and package it up in a way that makes it accessible to everyone.

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